Review: The Thursday Show, The Stand, York Place

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With St Valentine’s Day just a few weeks away, here’s a quick spot of advice for any budding lotharios: if you must take your date to The Stand for a spot of comedy, make sure you get there early enough to avoid a front row seat, especially if Scott Agnew’s on the bill.

The Thursday Show

The Stand, York Place

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It’s a lesson one young buck – out on a third date – learns the hard way tonight as the Glaswegian compere teases him mercilessly throughout.

A young Maltese pair don’t fare much better, while a Coatbridge couple, 15 years married, get much the same treatment.

But, as amusing as it might be watching those unfortunate souls squirm, this evening’s not all about laughing at the audience. In fact, the rest of the line-up seem much more comfortable when poking fun at themselves.

Headliner Ian Coppinger, best known for starring alongside Bill Bailey in record-breaking Fringe shows 12 Angry Men and The Odd Couple, laments his lack of height, Stuart Mitchell his missing fingertips, Eleanor Morton her status as social misfit and Stephen Carlin, well, he just can’t get over his ex-girlfriend’s decision to dump him for nobody.

Scotland’s penchant for black pudding suppers also attracts the ire of Irish funnyman Coppinger, while Morton’s gawky, graceless comic persona and her ukulele provide a refreshingly whimsical counterpoint to the straighter stand-up of her male counterparts on the night.

From misheard names at parties to dilemmas crossing the road, her clumsily charming ditties are neatly observed, even if there is more than a hint of the David O’Dohertys about them.

It’s Mitchell and Carlin, two rising stars of the comedy circuit that impress the most, though, each employing well-measured set-ups and demonstrating a knack for delivering a whip-smart turn of phrase or smarter-than-you-first-think wordplay.

Having previously appeared as infamous murderer Bible John in an STV drama, Mitchell is, thankfully, much more endearing playing himself, while the 36-year-old Carlin manages to skirt around heavy issues with ease.

The most notably example of which was a wittily alternative take on heroin and alcohol addiction before signing off with a ludicrously elaborate solution to ending a long-lasting, but unwanted friendship.